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Sightlines, Inc. v. Louisiana Leadership Institute

United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana

January 5, 2015



SHELLY D. DICK, District Judge MiddlE District of Louisiana

Before the Court is a Motion in Limine filed by Sightlines, Inc., seeking strike various witnesses and exhibits identified by the Louisiana Leadership Institute "LLI" in its Amended Final Witness List and Amended Final Exhibit List[1] LLI has filed an Opposition to Sightlines' Motion[2] For the following reasons, Sightlines' Motion in Limine shall be granted in part, and denied in part.

A. LLI's Amended Final Witness List

Sightlines seeks to exclude those witnesses identified by LLI in its Amended Final Witness List[3] who were not identified in LLI's Rule 26a1 Initial Disclosures. Rule 26a of the Federal Rules of Procedure specifically requires parties, without awaiting a discovery request, to provide initial disclosures to the other parties. These initial disclosures must be supplemented or corrected "in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect."[4] Pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Procedure, a party who fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26a or e, "is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless."[5] LLI, as the non-disclosing party, bears the burden of proving its failure was justified or harmless. LLI has failed to make any such showing in its Opposition.

The Court finds that to allow LLI to call witnesses newly identified at this late stage in the proceedings, essentially on the eve of trial, would be highly prejudicial to Sightlines. Accordingly, the following witnesses shall be struck from LLI's Amended Final Witness List. Butch Browning; David Guillory; Tammi Reynolds; Nick Mitchell; and Sid Gautreaux. Although LLI failed to identify Gayla Roberts in its Initial Disclosures, the Court finds it will not be prejudicial to Sightlines to allow her to testify considering Sightlines has also identified Gayla Roberts as a Will Call Witness. Therefore, the only persons who remain on LLI's Amended Final Witness List are Ben Jeffers, Sherman Ruth, Cleo Fields, and Gayla Roberts. The Court further finds that because LLI has failed to delineate whether these are Will Call or May Call Witnesses, LLI shall be responsible for having these witnesses present at trial unless they have been identified by Sightlines as Will Call Witnesses.

Sightlines also argues that Gayla Roberts is LLI's only witness whose testimony will be relevant to the remaining issues of whether there were any defects in the construction of the luxury suites and the costs to repair such defects. Therefore, it Sightlines' position that the remaining witnesses on LLCs Amended Final Witness List should be excluded as their testimony will be irrelevant.[6] The Court finds that the issue of relevance in this instance is best reserved for trial. Therefore, Sightlines Motion shall be denied without prejudice as to LLI's remaining witnesses, and Sightlines will be permitted to reurge its argument as it deems necessary at trial.

B- LLI's Amended Trial Exhibit List

Sightlines contends that certain exhibits in LLCs Amended Trial Exhibit List should be excluded because LLI failed to comply with the Court's directive at the Final Pretrial Conference and based on other evidentiary grounds.[7]

During the December 16, 2014 Final Pretrial Conference the Court instructed both parties to correct the deficiencies in their respective exhibit and witness lists. The Court finds that LLI has failed to comply with its instructions regarding the identification of its exhibits in its Amended Final Exhibit List for trial purposes, particularly in the following five (5) sections:

A. Any and all correspondences between Sightlines Inc and/or its representatives and Louisiana Leadership Institute ' and/or its representatives in regards to the installation and defects of the hospitality suites at Louisiana Leadership Institute.
B. Photographs of the hospitality suites installed by Sightlines and of the defects associated with this litigation.
C. Any and all relevant documents associated with the contract between Sightlines and Louisiana Leadership Institute for the installation of the hospitality suites.
G. Exhibits attached in Support of Sightlines' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
H. Exhibits attached in Support of Louisiana Leadership Institute's Opposition to ...

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